20 – 21 Apr - Affiliation of Major Fly Fishing Clubs (AMFC) Spring Meeting Draycote Water

The Spring AMFC is always a great event and you get to catch up with other anglers on the circuit after a long winter. Although it is a competitive fixture it’s a very friendly affair and the craik is usually spot on. The weather forecast was hard to be believed, really bright sunshine and a light wind. Hard to believe just last week I was togged up to the nines in layers and waterproof kit. We were a man down for practice but luckily the RAF Fishhawks had a spare man so Lloyd Thompson buddied up with one of our number to help out.

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I was to spend the day with Arron Jones, a former Welsh youth angler and now fishing for the Soldier Palmers in division 3. The captain for the event, Sean Hanlon, produced some maps for us all marked up with various zones. Arron and I were given zone 4 or it might have been 3, anyway it was in the top left-hand corner with the tower and the inlet pipe, it also included Biggins. It was a pretty slow start to be honest, I was straight through on a midge tip while Arron worked the depths with a fast sinker and some uglies. He managed a take and one follow up to Biggins, I on the other hand did not have a sniff.

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As we arrived in Biggins though, Arron spotted a load of fish in the slack water up and feeding. I had to look twice as there were so many. There was not much wind and trying to get the boat within range of the fish was no easy task. You know what it’s like, you think you are getting nearer but the shoal just move ten yards further away. On this occasion though the fish moved to just within range. I had switched out the buzzer on the point to a fab to keep my cast up and this worked a treat. I took two fish quickly and Arron got one on the fast sinker. Time to move on not wanting to attract attention to the area.

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Our next zone included Toft and although there were plenty of boats there was still room to get some good drifts in. Arron and I had swapped over, he was fishing the bung and I had gone to pulling various different sinkers. I was getting the odd bit of interest but the bung was slaying the fish and they were obviously hard on the buzzer. After several successful drifts it was time to meet up for lunch. We had done ok after the slow start but others had struggled a bit. After the lunch time chat we went our separate ways and we ended up checking the sailing club slip ways where Sean had found some fish in the morning but struggled to convert them. We did not look into Rainbow Corner as we had been told it had not produced in the morning. Man, I was going to regret that the next day!

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Arron and I decided to finish our day up by going to the point of the dam and working down to the boat dock. As we went over Toft looked like it was holding a right cake and arse party, boats were clumped together on the right-hand side giving the fish a proper shoeing. The rumour mill when we got in said that one boat that was anchored took over a hundred fish to their boat. It’s little wonder the area failed to produce the next day!  Working down towards the boats produced bumper sport, Arron doing most of the damage on the bung. I had changed to a full floater and washing lined some buzzers and had a few fish. It was great fun and one of the best days out this season so far.

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There was to be a wind change the next day which can cause the fish to go off a little but surely, they couldn’t go right off? I had drawn Rob Allen from the Royal Navy an accomplished angler that will be representing England this year at Lyn Brenig. He kindly let me drive and to be fair there were no secrets, we had both set up with exactly the same rigs and identical flies. I only intended to pull for the first hour and my intention if I had not finished by then (PMSL) was to switch to the bung. I watched a little dismayed as the entire fleet motored right through some great fish holding areas on route to Toft. I stayed to the outside not keen to get into the mix. We found a bit of space down by the buoy line and began drifting out. After only a handful of casts, Rob brought the first fish to the boat. Looking around though there were not many rods bending. After half an hour I had come to realise that it was not going to be the fishing bonanza was all talked about on the boat dock. I stuck to my plan though and after an hour switched to the bung.

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Three hours later I had not had even the slightest of offers and Rob had failed to add any to his total. Chatting with other anglers proved that the going was indeed tough and we had thunderstorms and heavy rain to look forward to… oh goody! It’s remarkable what a difference a day can make and the fishing had gone from bonanza to bloody difficult overnight. The rain had come as forecast and it was during this time that I got my first fish. Rob caught a cracking fish almost straight after and just after that I had a decent 3.5lb fish. A couple of casts later I got a solid rattle but the fish failed to stick.

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This was it they were coming on finishing was still on the cards, fish could now be seen moving everywhere in front of us. Although we could see them catching them was a completely different matter. Despite both Rob and I covering numerous fish we could not generate any interest. Rob had gone back to bung and managed another fish bringing his total for the day to three. I only managed the two, three chances all day what a shocker!

I was later to find out that the place to be was Rainbow corner, we had found no fish there as a team though and it was not even on my radar.

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Even after such a tough day I have to say I really enjoyed it; Rob was excellent company and we had a craik. Arron and I had an absolute beano on the practice day. The results where hard to take and we only managed a fourth place despite Sean’s valiant rally near the end taking five fish in the last half hour and finishing top angling. Our other team were a very credible second in their division.  Invicta (A) put in a sterling performance pipping the Fish Hawks by just 8oz a close fought contest so well done to them.

"The comp fishing is continuing to kick me hard in the bollocks this year and I can only hope that I get my shit together soon." 

The comp fishing is continuing to kick me hard in the bollocks this year and I can only hope that I get my shit together soon. The next match is on Rutland that has not been to kind to me thus far. I need to get on some running water soon as the weather has conspired to keep the rivers high and dirty this last month. I hear the Avon calling and should try and get down before the LDO hatches are distant memory and the mayfly has begun.